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Politicians condemn Kathua rape, seek justice for 8-year-old

Political leaders such as Omar Abdullah, Kamal Haasan and Maneka Gandhi expressed their anguish over the rape of a minor in Jammu and Kashmir’s Kathua district.

india Updated: Apr 13, 2018 14:35 IST
New Delhi, Hindustan Times
Kathua Rape Case,Kathua Rape Victim,Jammu Kashmir rape case
People hold placards at a protest against the rape of an eight-year-old girl, in Kathua, near Jammu and a teenager in Unnao, Uttar Pradesh state, in New Delhi, on Thursday. (Reuters photo)

Various political leaders on Friday unified in condemning the rape and murder of a minor in Jammu and Kashmir’s Kathua district. Politicians such as former Jammu and Kashmir chief minister Omar Abdullah, Kamal Haasan and Maneka Gandhi expressed their anguish over the “disturbing” case.

The rape and killing of the girl, who belonged to the nomadic Bakarwal Muslim community, has become a national issue. The gory details of the heinous crime surfaced following filing of charges this week.

The girl had disappeared from a spot near her house close to Rasana village in Jammu and Kashmir’s Kathua on January 10. A week later, her body was found in the same area. A Special Investigation Team, formed to probe the incident, has arrested eight people, including two special police officers (SPOs) and a head constable, who was charged with destroying evidence.

Here is what some of the leaders have said:

Omar Abdullah: The former Jammu and Kashmir chief minister asked Prime Minister Narendra Modi to break his silence over the rape and killing of an eight-year-old girl in Kathua district. “Hon PM sir, there isn’t a day when we don’t hear you speak about things that are important to you yet there are times when you are completely silent about things that are important to others,” he tweeted. Abdullah requested the prime minister not to let the girl be “someone you choose to remain silent about”.

Kamal Haasan: The actor-politician said he felt “angry” for failing her. “Does it have to be your own daughter for you to understand? She could’ve been mine,” he tweeted. Haasan, founder-president of Makkal Needhi Mayyam, said he felt “angry” as a man, father and as a citizen for “failing” the minor girl. “I am sorry my child, We didn’t make this country safe enough for you. I’ll fight for justice at least for future kids like you. We mourn you and won’t forget you,” he added.

Meenakshi Lekhi:The BJP MP in the Lok Sabha said a fair probe was done in the rape and murder of a minor in Jammu and Kashmir’s Kathua district. “A fair probe was done in Kathua case. SIT was formed and 6-7 people were arrested. Also, I would like to say it on record that the Jammu Bar Association president BS Slathia was the polling agent of Ghulam Nabi Azad,” said Lekhi. “You see their (Opposition) plan is to first shout ‘minority minority’, then ‘Dalit Dalit’, and now ‘women women’ and then try to somehow fix blame of state issues on the Centre. All this while ignoring the strict action being taken by state governments,” she added.

Maneka Gandhi: The women and child development minister declared that her ministry intends to amend the POCSO Act, making provision for death penalty in child rape cases. “I have been deeply, deeply disturbed by the rape case in Kathua and all the recent rape cases that have happened on children. I and the (women and child development) ministry intend to bring an amendment to the POCSO (Protection of Children from Sexual Offences) Act asking for the death penalty for rape on children below 12 years,” the minister said in a video message.

GA Mir: The Jammu and Kashmir Pradesh Congress Committee chairman asked chief minister Mehbooba Mufti to come clean on the alleged involvement of two of her cabinet ministers in instigating trouble in Kathua region.

VK Singh: The minister of state for external affairs on Thursday assured justice to the eight-year-old girl and said “we have failed her as humans. But she will not be denied justice.”

First Published: Apr 13, 2018 13:40 IST